Friday, July 20, 2012

Produce notes from Allen....121 Local Items!

Here is a forecast for new items from Hepworth Farms, coming soon to a coop near you.  Beginning Friday 7/20 we are offering two new Tomatoes, both in 20 oz. clamshells.  One is the "Mountain Magic" which may be compared to Campari or other cocktail Tomatoes.  Sarah Z says "they are the best Tomato ever".  The other offering contains a selection of mini Heirlooms.  On Tuesday 7/24 we expect the first of this year's Hard Neck Garlic and Sweet Frying Peppers.  Soon after we will receive Celery, other Peppers, and the final harvest of Apricots.  Also various Heirloom Cucumbers, including Suyo, Tasty Jade, and Striped Armenian.

We will continue to have sporadic deliveries of Local Black and Red Raspberries and Blackberries, but we have already seen the last of the Local Cherries.  We'll see our first "out of the ordinary" Beans, coming from Lancaster Family Farms Cooperative on 7/20, with the arrival of Lima, Rattlesnake and Yellow Romano Beans.

I was stopped by a member while I was walking home during the Wednesday afternoon cloudburst, who asked "Where are the Apples?"  I told her that it is not yet the Apple season, and supplies from last year have been nearly exhausted.  Had it not been raining I would have added that a poor harvest last fall led to shortages this spring and summer.  The packers who had any Apples at all in Washington state, Chile, or Argentina understand the law of supply and demand which is, "We have all of the supply, and we can demand whatever the ____ we want!"  The prices have been dreadful, beyond any we have ever seen or even imagined.  This weekend, one of our suppliers is getting an influx from New Zealand, and even if the prices remain high, we may be able to buy unbagged apples, if the prices are at least reasonable.  The reason we buy organic in bags so often is that on average the per pound price will be 20 to 30% cheaper.

Most of us are aware that there is a drought, as well as killing heat wave, affecting most of the United States.  Early reports are that this will result in produce shortages.   The first crop that is being severely affected is Corn, which will lead to higher energy costs, higher costs on all Corn sweetened junk and corn fed meats.  In other words, this will affect the cost of just about everything.  It looks like our local growers of organic and "integrated pest management" (IPM) Corn are OK.  By the way, none of the Corn that we carry is genetically modified.  We are committed to not buying genetically modified fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Here are a couple of quotes from local farmers concerning the drought.  "I don't have much of anything to send.  The drought and heat are taking a toll", said Robin Ostfeld of Blue Heron Farm near the Finger Lakes.  She in fact was unable to offer us any produce at all this week. Hepworth Farms in Milton, NY expected rain on Wednesday.  "There wasn't much rain, just enough to let the dust settle and make the weeds grow, but not enough to help", said Amy Hepworth.

Our supplier expecting the influx of New Zealand apples is not receiving the amounts we hoped for.  So Fuji from Chili is all we will be offering until further notice.

Despite all of their hardships,  our local farmers came through for us with 121 local items this week.

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator

No comments: